The UK and Spain set out their starkly different views on Gibraltar during an unrelated debate on military aggression and self-determination at the United Nations last week.
The discussion took place within the context of a meeting of the UN Committee on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Issues, also known as the Third Committee, and was not directly related to Gibraltar or decolonisation.
It was focused on a resolution declaring the UN’s firm opposition to “…foreign military intervention, aggression and occupation which had suppressed the right of peoples to self‐determination and other human rights in certain parts of the world.”
But during the course of the meeting, the Spanish representative used the opportunity to set out Spain’s well-known arguments on territorial integrity, highlighting too his government’s desire for bilateral discussions on sovereignty and its co-sovereignty proposal of last year.
He made reference too to the recent visit of Spain’s Foreign Minister, Alfonso Dastis, to the Campo de Gibraltar, “where he was able to see the harmful effects of the colony’s continued presence on Spanish territory.”
The Spanish diplomat received a swift response from the UK Government, whose representative at the meeting exercised a right of reply, reaffirming the Rock’s British sovereignty and insisting the people of Gibraltar enjoyed the right of self‐determination.
The Constitution endorsed by the Gibraltarians provided for a modern relationship with the UK, she said, reiterating the UK’s commitment to the people of Gibraltar.
The UK diplomat also confirmed her government would not change Gibraltar’s sovereignty or enter into sovereignty negotiations with which Gibraltar was not content.
She also expressed regret that Spain had withdrawn from the trilateral process for dialogue.